1. Get the Diabetes Forum App for your phone - available on iOS and Android.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Guest, we'd love to know what you think about the forum! Take the Diabetes Forum Survey 2021 »
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Diabetes Forum should not be used in an emergency and does not replace your healthcare professional relationship. Posts can be seen by the public.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Guest, stay home, stay safe, save the NHS. Stay up to date with information about keeping yourself and people around you safe here and GOV.UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19). Think you have symptoms? NHS 111 service is available here.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community »

A curse or a blessing?

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by Alanem, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. Alanem

    Alanem · Active Member

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I’ve only started testing myself in the past 3 or 4 months and it has become very obvious I have been having low BG levels for many years..the low 2’s regularly without knowing it. I don’t get any feelings of being unwell except recently my vision has started to be affected at very low levels. I know the dangers of hypos and I’m well aware of the damage that can be done with high BG but what are the possible consequences when the opposite is the case?

    Alan
     
  2. Richard157

    Richard157 Type 1 · Active Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    I have seen this question asked many times on the diabetes sites. I have had hundreds of very low blood sugar episodes during my 64 years of type 1. I became a math professor at the college level, have a wife and two kids, and two grandchildren. I have had a very normal life despite the hypos. The hypos have not caused me any damage. My brain and body functions are very normal even though my pancreas stopped producing insulin when I was 5.

    I have read that brain damage can occur with hypos when they are bad enough that unconsciousness occurs for an extended period of time, perhaps resulting in a coma. If someone is there to bring you out of the unconscious state then you would not suffer any permanent side effects. I have had many episodes with unconsciousness involved. It has been more than three years since I have needed assistance with a hypo. My control has much improved since I started using an insulin pump in 2007.

    Good luck to you in the months ahead.

    Richard
     
  3. cugila

    cugila · Master

    Messages:
    10,272
    Likes Received:
    98
    Trophy Points:
    118
    Contrary to some views expressed regarding there being no problem if you have hypo's.....I would have to disagree strongly. Hypo levels if you drive are illegal in the UK and you could be prosecuted or worse still be involved in an Accident. Usually this would be caused by a lack of cognitive ability.
    Hypo unawareness is also something that should never be the case in a Diabetic. Mostly they are avoidable.

    I have known many who have very low Bg levels and judging by some of their actions and behaviour I would seriously doubt that they are functioning perfectly and that it has done nothing to their brains over time. How do they know ? Have they had extended tests done to prove this ?

    There is much new medical opinion that low Bg levels can and do affect the brain function and more articles about this are being published all the time. So, I for one wouldn't bank on it not having any effect.....despite what anybody tells you. If you think it is fine OK.........however, is that because they have affected your brain and it's thought processes over the years ?? I know personally that low Bg levels affect me....they may have long term effects. That's why I have always done my best to avoid hypo's over the years.

    Ken
     
  4. Janieb

    Janieb · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Hey I think Ken is right - I have a friend whos type 1 who hypos on a regular basis as she doesnt seem to be that bothered about her health ( I've pointed her to this site)

    She defiantly is very vacant and her speech almost slurs , I also know when shes about to go into hypo as shes distracted and cant concentrate.
    I would have thought that if this kept happening its going to be damaging, why dont you have a chat with your doc and see what they think.
     
  5. Richard157

    Richard157 Type 1 · Active Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    From the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism (2000):

    http://www.nature.com/jcbfm/journal/v20 ... 0858a.html

    "Fortunately, brain injury from hypoglycemia occurs relatively infrequently in humans. Thus, among 1,307 patients experiencing drug-induced hypoglycemic coma, whereas 8% died, only 2% developed neurological sequelae (Selzer, 1989). The literature references only isolated cases of hypoglycemic encephalopathy, but large series are absent (Kalimo and Olsson, 1980; Auer et al., 1989), suggesting an infrequent occurrence of hypoglycemic brain damage. Even so, exposure to hypoglycemia should be avoided for several reasons."

    Ken, of course there is impairment in our actions and our thinking when we have hypos, but that is only temporary. Brain damage is more evident in animal research and experiments, but apparently not so with humans, unless the hypos are so bad that comas result and last a long time. I certainly do not have any brain damage after hundreds of hypos when I needed assistance. I realize a sample of size one is statistically insignificant. Lol! In the many discussions on this issue in the USA forums, I have not seen anyone post that there is a cumulative effect on the brain due to numerous short term hypos. You are the first to suggest that on the forums I have visited.

    Peace, Richard
     
  6. cugila

    cugila · Master

    Messages:
    10,272
    Likes Received:
    98
    Trophy Points:
    118
    Hi Richard.
    I do hope you are right. I don't doubt that you are an intelligent and articulate man.......not the issue here. What is the issue is what we should advise people, to try and make sure they don't make the same mistakes as some of us have made. I am certainly not going out on a limb and telling somebody that low Bg's do not have a cumulative effect. I do not know and it appears neither do many other people, even experts disagree. I'm just a Diabetic.....what do I know ?

    As I said there is a growing body of opinion amongst the medical community here and elsewhere that it is and can be detrimental. I certainly wouldn't want to be the one to advise anybody that it is really nothing to worry about whatever anybody else in the USA or here said. I prefer to go on what I see and what I have read, we have had many articles and reports claiming one thing one year then a few years later it's all change. Just my opinion.

    There is certainly evidence available which I posted here the other day that in infants up to 5 yrs old hypoglycaemia is a growing risk, if it is bad for a child in development.........why should we think that it has NO effect on an Adult's brain ?

    I am not convinced by the arguments that are put forward in old posts. My Endo and many other medical professionals thinks that there IS a connection. If they are all wrong then I stand corrected........however I am not prepared to take a risk of damaging an already older brain, I shall be 62 this month. I want all my faculties to be intact for many more years to come. :D

    As for being the first to suggest things........I am glad of that....makes people think about what they are telling others. I have seen it mentioned before on these forums and it always provokes debate. I don't think anybody has yet come up with a definitive answer.......so, I am afraid we will have to agree to disagree on this one.

    We are all different and I never did run with the crowd ! :wink:

    Ken
     
  7. Richard157

    Richard157 Type 1 · Active Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Ken, you are 62 and I am 70. Does that mean I win? :p I think not. I think aging is like golf, the lower score is the winner. :wink:
     
  8. cugila

    cugila · Master

    Messages:
    10,272
    Likes Received:
    98
    Trophy Points:
    118
    Err....... I wasn't aware it was a competition. It just means you are older than me. I'm happy for you. May you have many more birthdays.

    Ken
     
  9. Alanem

    Alanem · Active Member

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Hi and thanks for your interest but I was trying to get an indication if low BG can affect other parts of the body apart from having hypos. The point being I don't suffer any effects until my BG is down to around 2.3 and I'm concerned damage is being done elsewhere without my knowing?

    Alan
     
  10. catherinecherub

    catherinecherub · Guest

    Hi Alan,

    According to this article, hypos can affect the autonomic nervous systems. It says that this can happen if blood sugars are too low too often.

    http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/c ... ns_nerves/
    Click on the heading, How can damage to the autonomic nerves affect me?

    Hope this helps,

    Catherine.
     
  11. Ka-Mon

    Ka-Mon · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Hi,

    Had the 8% who died due to hypo induced coma lived, could the percentage of those who developed neorological sequelae, have been much higher than the 2% mentioned above?
     
  12. Richard157

    Richard157 Type 1 · Active Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    That seems to be a very reasonable assumption, Ka-mon, but there is no way we can research that. We can only make an educated guess. :wink:
     
  13. AchillesHeel

    AchillesHeel · Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    This is an interesting discussion for we are all concerned about hypos. I would have to say that I fervently believe that frequent severe hypos DO cause damage to the body/brain. The trauma that is experienced from a hypo leading to loss of consciousness is ample enough evidence for me (& for my family!). Have enough of these traumatic events & the damage starts. There seems to be little research on this.

    It's a bit like saying, loss of sleep will cause no irreparable damage to the body. Well it does - in many insiduous ways that accumulate over time.

    I find it a bit hard to understand how anyone can argue that hypos are nothing to worry about & that damage only seems to happen to animals, etc. :?: :shock:

    If hypos are the price we have to pay for surviving on insulin, then let's be cognizant of this. However let's not pretend that these costs may not hurt us at the same time ... It's a tightrope balancing act unfortunately.
     
  • Meet the Community

    Find support, connect with others, ask questions and share your experiences with people with diabetes, their carers and family.

    Did you know: 7 out of 10 people improve their understanding of diabetes within 6 months of being a Diabetes Forum member. Get the Diabetes Forum App and stay connected on iOS and Android

    Grab the app!
  • Tweet with us

  • Like us on Facebook